The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a new director: Diane Loosle. The official announcement was published in this newsletter earlier today at http://goo.gl/re29YG. In a short speech, Diane described several changes she is making at the Library. She seems especially interested in applying crowd sourcing to collaborative services in the Library, starting on Nordic Area. This is a dedicated space (replacing the previous Nordic counter) encouraging patrons to work together on common research goals. The Library staff will also be available, as always, but their assistance will be supplemented by others who are researching in the same areas.
Diane also will continue efforts started earlier to bring the library to remote patrons via online resources.
Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch, gave a brief presentation on "Where FamilySearch is and Where it is Going." Amongst the numbers he gave that I was able to scribble down:
- Almost 3 billion names are now online at FamilySearch.org with approximately 1.7 million more being added every day.
- FamilySearch now has 237 camera teams in the field in locations all around the globe. The plan is to expand that number to 500 within a very few months.
- FamilySearch is about to start new Family History Discover Centers, first in high traffic locations in metropolitan area. Assuming these first efforts are successful, similar Family History Discover Centers will be added in 3 to 5 other cities worldwide in the next 12 months. Some of these centers will have Oral History Recording Studios, (one is already installed at the Riverton, Utah, Family History Center). These audio and video studios will encourage any interested person to describe their life experiences to be recorded for posterity. Some people will prefer to sit alone in front of a camer, giving a monologue, while others my wish to be interviewed by a family member or an interested friend. The plan is to capture their life stories on audio and video, storing the results on your own flash drive that you take with you. Initially, no copy is kept by FamilySearch but the plan is to add that later as an option; you can agree to give a copy to FamilySearch or not. Total cost for use of the Oral History Recording Studio is $8 for one hour or perhaps a bit longer. That fee pays for the pre-formatted flash drive that will be supplied by FamilySearch. Plan on an hour for the video plus perhaps an additional 15 minutes or so for the technicians to copy the video to the flash drive.
- 950 million names are now online in the new Online Family Tree with about 42,000 more names being added every day. The new Online Family Tree was heavily promoted within the LDS community but given little publicity elsewhere. However, FamilySearch managers have been pleasantly surprised to find that non-LDS contributors have added about 27% of the data.
- 700,000+ patron-submitted family photographs are now online with an additional adding 5,000 or so photographs being added daily.
- A new service was announced: you will soon be able to take your old family photographs to a local Family History Center near you and use the high-speed scanner there to digitize stacks of photos. The software will upload the photographs to your personal area on FamilySearch.org. You can later sort and label the photographs as well as add stories or biographies to the photos as appropriate, either at home or back at the Family History Center. The software is available today. The new scanners are being sent to local centers and personnel will be trained soon. NOTE: You don't need to visit a Family History Center to upload photos. You can do so from home, using your own scanner. The new, high-speed equipment at local Family History Center is simply a convenience for those who do not own scanners or for anyone who has lots of pictures to upload. Apparently, you can insert a stack of photographs into a scanner, press a button, and the images will be scanned at a high resolution very quickly.
- Many of the sessions at RootsTech 2014 will be available via live streaming in 60 satellite locations around the world, in 10 languages. It is expected that 120,000 remote, but live, attendees will be watching.
- FamilySearch Indexing: Since 2006, more than 1 billion names have been indexed by 140,000+ volunteers but still more volunteers are needed, especially for overseas records.
- How to explain indexing: a new video is now online on FamilySearch.org. The video was played to an large audience last night before the FGS conference opened. It is a short cartoon with no words but with graphics and text available in 10 languages. After watching the video, anyone should be able to understand the benefit of indexing.
Whew! It has been a very long day with a lot of "new news."